Make Sure Early Finishers are Never Finished

A key to a well-managed, educational classroom: making sure every student has something constructive to do at every moment. Sounds like a no-brainer, and yet a lot of times students are off task because they have no task. This especially happens when students finish an assignment while other students are still working on it. That’s why you need to include an “early finisher” activity with every assignment. And be sure to put your expectations in writing on the assignment sheet, board, or projector screen.

As for possible activities, options include extension activities related to the current topic, brain teasers, journal writing, silent reading, and educational games (one of my students’ favorites was the math game “24”—I kept cards in my tool belt, and handed them out as students finished an assignment). Whatever you choose, just be sure it’s constructive—no inane busy work (down with “word searches,” especially for older kids).


2 Responses to Make Sure Early Finishers are Never Finished

  1. Blair Grammer says:

    I absolutely agree, Coach G! It is amazing, in my experience, how quickly ‘off task’ can turn into ‘trouble!’ A strategy that worked for me was to create folders for each of my students with activities for math, reading, and science/social studies. These were called ‘Fast Finisher Folders’ and were kept in a hanging pocket chart on the wall. Each student had their own pocket with all three folders inside. When kids finished up early, I’d check their work and direct them to the pocket chart to grab the appropriate folder. Every week or so I would glance through and exchange finished work with fresh activities.

  2. Yvonne Cribbs says:

    I have really enjoyed your suggestions and I have passed them on to my teachers. They are excellent. Keep up the good work. I agree most definitely that down time becomes play time when students are not kept engaged in learning.

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